System News

Faces in the news: Erika Van Flein, Brandi Berg and Mike Driscoll

Strategic Direction Team to meet with Internal Stakeholders

Listening sessions for internal stakeholders are already under way, following a break over the holidays.

This week, the team will visit the Bristol Bay campus in Dillingham and the Mat-Su campus in Palmer. Read some of the feedback that the strategic direction team is hearing in the latest NEWSLETTER.

Take the ONLINE SURVEY to add your thoughts to the discussion.

Where will the Strategic Direction team be next? Click the following link to check the SCHEDULE for a listening session near you.

Legislative session 2012

The second session of the 27th Alaska State Legislature began Jan. 17, 2012.

For current bill status, visit BASIS, a web site by the State of Alaska where you can track bills, find legislator contact information, listen to audio recordings of meetings and review schedules of upcoming committee meetings.

How to Participate in a Legislative Hearing:

You can follow a legislative hearing through Gavel-to-Gavel or at your nearest Legislative Information Office.

To participate at a legislative hearing in which testimony is being taken or you are an invited witness, go to your nearest Legislative Information Office or dial 1-888-295-4546 to join the teleconference.

SupportUA Listserve

SupportUA-L is an online newsletter designed to keep UA advocates informed about UA's budget and bills of interest. As a UA employee, you have been automatically subscribed (though a message has not yet gone out on the listserve this session). If you know anyone else who might like to subscribe, please send them HERE.

State Relations site

The UA State Relations Web site has links to many resources including UA Bill tracker, important meeting dates, advocacy materials, UA budget request information, legislative contact information, news updates and more.

Regents gather at UAF Feb. 15-16

The Board of Regents will hold a regularly scheduled meeting Feb. 15-16 in Fairbanks in Room 109 of the Butrovich Building, on the West Ridge of the UAF campus. 

The agenda for the meeting has not yet been published. You can check back at www.alaska.edu/bor/ for the full agenda closer to the meeting.

The Regents' Recap is an online publication produced by Public Affairs following each meeting. You can find the recap at: http://www.alaska.edu/recap/

Mike Driscoll, UAA Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor, to be President at Indiana University of Pennsylvania

From: UAA Chancellor Tom Case

Jan. 19, 2012

I’m pleased to announce that Mike Driscoll, Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor, has accepted the position of President at Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP), effective July 1, 2012.

I’ve had the privilege of working with Mike for several years, both when I served as a dean and now as UAA’s chancellor. Though I am thrilled to share the news of his well-deserved promotion, I have mixed feelings about losing such an exceptional colleague and leadership partner. Mike’s dedicated community outreach and academic vision have helped to significantly raise UAA’s reputation in the Alaska and University communities. With Mike’s experience in and contributions to higher education these past 23 years, it comes as no surprise that IUP chose Mike to lead the way as its next president.

We will soon launch a national search for the next Provost, which will take time and careful consideration.  We are fortunate that Mike will continue his role as Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor for the remainder of this academic year. This will allow me the time for consultation and deliberation about an interim provost who could serve until a permanent provost is identified.  MORE...

New Benefits Director Announced

Erika Van Flein, formerly benefits administrator for UA Human Resources, was recently named director of benefits, replacing Mike Humphrey, who took a job as executive officer for UAA Chancellor Tom Case.

As director of benefits, Van Flein oversees employee benefits administration, including health care, retirement, disability and life insurance, for some 4,600 benefits-eligible employees across the state.

"Ms. Van Flein brings to her new assignment years of outstanding experience in all facets of benefits administration and delivery," said Donald Smith, interim chief human resources officer. "Please join me in wishing Ms. Van Flein much success with her new responsibilities."

Van Flein, a lifelong Fairbanks resident, joined the university in 1990, working as an administrative assistant in University Relations at UAF. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Wisconsin.

She is the daughter of Professor Emeritus Carl Benson and Ruth Benson, who worked as a nurse at the student health center. A graduate of West Valley High School, Van Flein has been married to her husband Peter Van Flein for 22 years. They have two sons; Isaac, 19, and Kristoffer, 17. Isaac is a sophomore at UAF.

Van Flein is an avid runner, and is on a personal quest to run a marathon in all 50 states. In December, she ran the White Rock Marathon in Dallas, Texas, her seventh marathon for the year and 12th state in her collection!

Berg Named New BOR Executive Officer

President Gamble has announced that Brandi Berg, formerly assistant to Board of Regents' Executive Officer Jeannie Phillips, will replace Phillips in the position. Phillips is moving to UAF to work in the chancellor's office Feb. 1.

The Board of Regents' executive officer serves as the primary staff support to the 11-member Board of Regents, including preparation of the agenda materials, taking care of all logistics and maintaining official records.

Berg began her career at the University of Alaska in 2002 as the administrative assistant at the UA Foundation. Later that same year she was promoted to board coordinator/executive assistant. In 2006, Berg became the account and award manager at the Foundation, administering grants, awards and scholarships. She joined the Board of Regents’ Office in 2008, working directly with executive staff and the board under Phillips.

Prior to working at the university, Berg spent 19 years in the travel industry, and has a certificate in travel industry management from the Institute of Certified Travel Consultants. She is currently pursuing an administrative professional certificate from the International Association of Administrative Professionals.

UA retains Washington DC firm for federal relations contract

The University of Alaska has secured the Washington, DC-based firm Patton Boggs to assist with federal relations, following the retirement of federal relations director Martha Stewart the end of December.

Stewart, founder of the Arctic Sounder newspaper, a former nurse and legislative aide to former Sen. Al Adams of Kotzebue, served as UA’s federal relations director for more than 12 years. Her retirement provided the opportunity to reduce an executive position on the UA System staff and instead contract for the services.

“Patton Boggs has a tremendous amount of expertise in this area, and while we’re certainly going to miss Martha’s knowledge of Alaska, the university and the legislative process in Washington, we feel confident Patton Boggs will provide the university with excellent service,” said University Relations Vice President Carla Beam.

The 16-campus UA System, which serves nearly 35,000 students across the state, is facing growing competition with numerous other colleges and universities for highly coveted research grants each year through such agencies as the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, among others. The university’s current level of grant-funded research totals $124 million, up five percent from FY10. Other sources of federal money combined with the research grant awards comprise 17.5 percent of UA’s overall operating budget.

Due to the importance of the federal government to UA’s mission, Beam stressed that it’s critical to present a coordinated approach in Washington across a broad federal front. This allows the university not only to successfully navigate the complexities of the federal government, but also to tap into new opportunities.

In addition to the Patton Boggs team in Washington DC, Bob Evans in Anchorage is of counsel with the firm. Evans is a longtime Alaskan and is very familiar with the University of Alaska.

The year-long contract with Patton Boggs represents about the same annual expenditure as would hiring a full-time UA employee. The decision also follows President Gamble’s commitment to reduce System staff through attrition and consolidate positions where it makes sense.

Patton Boggs representatives Kevin O’Neill, Jessica Pung and Dana Weekes visited the state last week to meet with UA administration and campus leadership whose programs are supported or impacted by federal actions. To contact Patton Boggs, please call Vice President Beam at 907/786-7711.

SAA Highlights

Since the last SAA Highlights, the Statewide Administration Assembly met twice, on Dec. 14 and Jan. 11. The next SAA meeting will be 10 a.m., Wednesday, Feb. 8, in the Sherman Carter Conference Room and the conference room in the Bragraw Office Building. All meetings are open to the public, and statewide workers are encouraged to contact their governance group to address workplace concerns, policies and other matters affecting Statewide staff.

December and January Meeting Overviews Include

  • UA Strategic Direction
  • Staff Salaries in FY13
  • Policy and regulation review
  • Employee tuition waivers
  • Performance evaluations
  • Spring budget brown bag
  • Health care plan updates
  • Spring Service Awards
  • Holiday potlucks
  • Adopt-a-family
  • Building issues

For information please read the overviews HERE.

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